Question time

Alright. So you either know someone who has had a baby or you’ve had one yourself. The period after the baby is born is a rough transition — schedules are all out of whack, you’re operating on 2 hours of sleep some days, plus, HELLO? there’s a new person in your life that you’re completely responsible for and who can’t do anything for themselves.

Relationships change. Priorities change. YOU change.

With that thought in mind, I’d like some feedback from you all, if you’d be so kind.

Questions for Moms:

  • Did your maternity leave spill over onto your relationships?
  • Did your friends feel neglected and hurt because they weren’t a priority?
  • Were you irritated by their lack of understanding?
  • How did you manage to get everything back into balance?
  • Or have you not figured it out?

Questions for friends/relatives of Moms:

  • What do you miss most about your friendship/relationship with a new parent?
  • What would be an acceptable amount of time for the new parent to invest into your friendship?
  • Would you rather them not bring the husband/baby when you do see them?

Any other questions or comments are welcome. Thanks!

20 thoughts on “Question time

  1. Okay so you know me.. and you probably know my answer to this but…
    I have a very weird view on friendships and family.. probably because I’m used to not being around the people I care about. I really don’t have an intense need for constant attention, so when you had the baby (okay you’re my only friend whose had a baby so it’s hard to compare to anyone else), I am all for giving you your own space to deal with this HUGE life change. I mean planning a wedding/college/new job = nothing compared to pushing out and then caring for a new baby.

    I’m the type of friend who could not hear from someone for a year and still consider them one of my best friends. Just because you aren’t a part of the day to day things doesn’t mean you don’t care about them any less. I don’t think it’s fair for friends to expect things and not be understanding. Friends should be there to uplift, not for you to upkeep.

    Specifically answering your questions: umm I miss seeing you all the time, but that’s not from the baby, I went and moved away. Acceptable time to invest? Realistically for a working mom, I wouldn’t expect much more than seeing you once a month (if I were someone who lived there and was used to seeing you regularly), and the husband and baby thing just depends on the type of friend and that friend should be understanding to you. I mean I’m sure your friends would like to see Maddie (who would’t?! she’s adorable!) and if it’s a friend couple thing, then I don’t see why the husbands couldn’t hang out together.

  2. I love Stephanie’s answer! As you go to new stages in your life your priorities change and I’m finding that there are times where my priorities are changing at a different rate than some of my dear friends. It’s challenging but a good friendship can evolve and grow stronger through life changes if you are all willing to look at things from each others point of view.

  3. I do miss our thursday lunchs but I do understand maddie needs to eat :-). I would like to spend time with you whenever you have time. Even if its only once a month or less. I mean even if it’s just hanging and watching a movie. When we do hang out seeing as I don’t have a boy justin might be bored but if he wants to come he can. Also maddie is always welcome. but if you need a girls day without baby that’s great as well.

  4. When I had my first baby I lost a lot of my friends, not many understood what I was going through or why I couldn’t just up and go out to drink anymore. Not a big deal, if they didn’t stick with me after I had my baby, they just weren’t real friends. I was most irritated by my ex-best friend, she was the worst of everyone, she wanted me to get an abortion when I found out I was pregnant, so I’m not sure why I even kept her in my life as long as I did. Live and learn I guess.
    The friends I still have, we don’t see each other as often but we still make time to talk on the phone, we try to lock ourselves in rooms so we can block out all our kids screaming lol. The one thing that we do is have a big barbeque in the summer and let our kids run around while we all catch up in person if we haven’t seen much of each other during the year.that one is for the whole family, husbands and all, but during the year we try to go out more without them so we can act like we did when we were younger lol. it’s lots of fun when we find the time to actually do it.

  5. Good questions. I too felt like I lost friendships after I had Reagan. Your priorities (or available time in a day :-) change, naturally. Looking back what I can see now (that Reagan’s older) isn’t that I lost them, but for the brief season that is “infant/baby”, they had to change. They were still my friends but how we moved forward in our relationship was redefined. I wasn’t so good at helping my friends understand the new emotions and season of life I was trying to adjust to and understand. I was 22 when I had Reagan and the only person in my circle that was married and now a mom. How good that you are asking these questions and expressing where you’re at now, I’m sure that can only help your friendships and you find the balance that’s right for your family. What it took for me is (not a fun or revolutionary answer), but time. I had an older friend (married with a couple kids) tell me after I vented to her similar frustrations, that it was ok not to have it all figured out. Although I guess I knew that, it was nice to hear it from someone farther along in life than me. Give it time, life will come into balance again.

  6. * Did your maternity leave spill over onto your relationships? I’m not sure how to answer this one. I quit my job when I had my first baby. Yes, definitely being off work and tending to my baby was a huge change in my relationships.

    * Did your friends feel neglected and hurt because they weren’t a priority? I don’t think so.

    * Were you irritated by their lack of understanding? Everyone was just so excited about the baby, it seemed like he enhanced my relationships.

    * How did you manage to get everything back into balance? Ha! Every mother on the face of the planet is constantly working on this one, because it always changes. You’ve gotta set your priorities and then work on making them happen. If you need to have a dinner alone with hubby once a week, then eat dinner late, after baby’s in bed. If you need girls’ night out once a month, talk to dh and ask if that can happen. Whatever your goals are . . .

  7. As someone who has several friends expecting and several with newborns, I can say that while I definitely miss my friends, I completely understand that their priorities have changed. I welcome any time I get to spend with my friends who are mommies…and often that includes the little ones, which I think is great.

    Personally, I don’t think there is a specific amount of time that you need to invest in your friendships. For me, I know that my friends’ time is limited now, and I welcome any time they feel they can give me.

  8. Hi,
    Just wanted to say that I enjoy your writing! I am a mom of 3 and my advice (take it or leave it—lol) is to not forget about your husband…While he will love the baby so much, he might start to feel neglected by you….I think that it is hard for some men to now be second…it may not even be your choice, but babies take a lot of a mother’s time and energy…Honestly, at times, it’s exhausting–sometimes I think I can’t do one more thing for one more person—but, I take the time and try to remember how and why the children got here in the first place—-lol—–Date nights are great or letting the grandparents keep the little one overnight are even better…Your daughter is beautiful…..Best wishes to you and your family,
    Cheryl

  9. I consider myself to be my bestfriend….and she has helped me out a great deal with the new baby. I ask her the dumbest questions about babies like….”do they drink water”….”don’t they get thirsty”. I had no clue what to do with a baby. She has been a BIG help.

    On the other hand my husband has been working hard at his full time job and he is working on opening up a new business. So he leaves the house at 4AM and returns at 9 PM. This is really hurting our relationship because I feel like I am raising my son alone.

    This is my first child and I need all the help…especially from my husband and unfortunatly he is never there.

  10. One of my closest friends from college just let me know that she and her husband are thinking about trying for a baby, and I was SO overwhelmed! It just seems so out of my scope right now that I couldn’t imagine anyone my age (knowing that you are a FABULOUS mom) would be ready. But looking back, I know that they must be and that my husband and I just are not there yet.

    I think if they go through with it, it will dramatically change the way we visit or spend time with them. Weekends will become day trips and they certainly won’t involve bars anymore :)

    Who knows? I don’t know if this even answers your question, just my 2 cents. By the way, linked your site to my blog for my 3 readers to enjoy!!

  11. After we had our twin daughters we wondered when things would get back into “balance” again too.

    Then we realized that, until they were born, things were never in “balance”.

  12. Since I’m still expecting… so I don’t know about life after Rowan arrives, but I can say that I have definitely seen a change in a couple relationships since I’ve been prego. Two of my closest friends (one married and one in a serious relationship) are very far away from being ready for kids. Which is totally fine. BUT… I feel like they have completely distanced themselves from me since I’ve been prego. I’m trying not to take it personally but its hard, considering, they NEVER call or make an effort to hang out. I’ve talked to them maybe twice a trimester… and let me just say that they were TWO of my four bridesmaids. The other two (my sister and my cousin) both have a child and are in constant contact me with. I try to remember that my friends just don’t realize how life changing things are for me right now. I appreciate the “excitement” they do show when we talk (however fake or forced it is) but I just have come to realize that things will never be the same. Its sad really. I especially hate when they say, “I would just die if I became pregnant. My life would be over.” Um… thanks?

    Luckily I have (over the last couple years) made new girlfriends, through my husband’s friends and they are completely understanding and one is even prego herself. I believe that it is completely possible for a friend with out kids to be sensitive and understanding about the life change you are going through, but there are definitely some who just don’t get it.

  13. OH and to answer the 2nd half of your questions “to friends/relatives of a Mom”… one of those girlfriends I was talking about above has already hinted that babies are not allowed at their dinner parties (which is fine since we are the only friends in her circle that will have a kid) AND that she can’t wait to hang out “when I can drink again and when Kyle can take the baby.” Translation… “I only plan on hanging out when you can dump the baby off on somebody else and not burden me with baby time.” Its frustrating and it hurts my feelings.

    Before I was pregnant, I always tried to be welcoming of our friends with kids… mostly because my sister has a child and I hear from her what her frustrations are with friends. For many working moms, the last thing they want to do is get a baby sitter on the weekend, when they’ve had their child in day care all week. So, all of our dinner parties and house parties have become kid friendly. We welcome the wee- little ones. I just hope our friend do the same in return once Rowan arrives. :-)

  14. Questions for Moms:

    * Did your maternity leave spill over onto your relationships?
    I have no idea.

    * Did your friends feel neglected and hurt because they weren’t a priority?
    Kinda. I have one friend who has no idea what to do with babies and regards them as screechy little monsters that she can look at (but not touch) for a few minutes, but then needs to leave. Needless to say we don’t hang out much anymore b/c she doesn’t want to be around my kid and I’m nursing so at best I can leave her for 2-3 hours with her dad.

    * Were you irritated by their lack of understanding?
    Yes. I didn’t stop hanging out with her when she had big life changes that I just didn’t get, but she’s doing it to me.

    * How did you manage to get everything back into balance?
    * Or have you not figured it out?
    This. I figure some friendships aren’t going to last through certain things and this friendship with this person isn’t going to to last through this thing.

  15. Did your maternity leave spill over onto your relationships?
    I quit my job after my leave was up, lol. But not before extending my leave. My co-workers were aware there was a good chance of this happening, though.

    Did your friends feel neglected and hurt because they weren’t a priority?
    I think because my son was in the hospital, they didn’t give me a hard time. I lost a lot of friends, but I guess they weren’t really friends in the first place.

    Were you irritated by their lack of understanding?
    Absolutely, but more so from other mom-friends. They still liked to go out and party like they didn’t have a kid. I never understood that mentality.

    How did you manage to get everything back into balance?
    I slowly got a routine. It helped. Plus I had to remind myself that just because I stayed at home didn’t mean I could skip showers. Showers were very helpful, even if little one was in his car seat, waiting for me to get out.

    Or have you not figured it out?
    You have to be flexible!

  16. you’ve gotten some GREAT feedback– hooray! I think this is something every new mom struggles with.

    For me, when Emma was born, I was probably in a completely different situation than you seem to be– because almost all of us in our “group” had kids right around the same time, so we were going through it together. Except for Jessica (my sis-in-law, Steph’s cousin), who was literally the ONLY one of us who couldn’t. And I know it was very hard for her. I think she did a great job of dealing with it, but I do have to say that our friendship went through a bit of an “off” time– I’m not sure either one of us knew quite how to figure it out right then. We went from being best friends who were at the same place in life to me having a baby and being completely and totally overwhelmed (I really struggled at first). And, on top of that, she was struggling with her own desires of wanting a baby like everyone else. It was hard.

    BUT– our friendship was so important to me and her that we both kind of “waited it out” and took the time once things struck a bit of a balance in both our lives to reconnect in a whole new way and grow even closer. And today, we have an AMAZING friendship, one that I can’t imagine living without. I think a lot of that has to do with the ways we’ve been able to see each other through and encourage one another no matter where we were in our seasons of life. I don’t know what I’d do without her– and I know we’ll always be there for each other.

    So, long story short (sorry :)), I think it’s natural for friendships to go through different seasons depending upon where God has each person in their lives. But, if it’s a true friendship and an important one (such as I can tell you and Steph have, especially based on her comment), it will always come back around in good time and the changes will help you to grow TOGETHER in the long run, instead of apart.

    just give it some time, I KNOW you’ll figure it out :)

  17. Did your maternity leave spill over onto your relationships?
    For some, yes. Specifically the people who still have full time jobs and no kids. For others, no. I’ve watched new friendships form and some grow closer now that we have more in common (kids).

    Did your friends feel neglected and hurt because they weren’t a priority?
    If so, they haven’t said so.

    Were you irritated by their lack of understanding?
    I would definitely be irritated.

    How did you manage to get everything back into balance?
    Or have you not figured it out?
    I feel like my life is in better balance now than it was before, actually. It’s definitely different, but my priorities are in a better place.

  18. I have something to add, because I always forget about this person until she does/says something…

    So I have this “friend” and I use that term very loosely. I’ve known her since high school. We hung out with the same group of debate/honors students/geek kids and all got pretty close. She and I probably hung out a little more than the other people in our group.

    Anyway, after high school she moved to San Diego to go to school. So we stopped being close. Basically everyone I knew from high school moved away for school so I got new friends at church and moved on, just like they moved on from friendship with me. We still “know” eachother, but it is more friendly than friendship.

    This particular person grew up in a crappy family/home. So her outlook on love, marriage, having kids, etc. is sooo messed up. She is very, very much a femminist.

    I don’t know her specific views on my marriage, quiting my job, having a baby, but I have an idea based on what she told me was her reaction to one of our other friends. She was a bridesmaid in this friends wedding and cried through the WHOLE ceremony because she thought that marrying him was a mistake and that our friend would be “stuck” and that her husband was just a loser, etc. She actually stopped talking to her after the wedding for like a year. When the other friend got pregnant, she was even more pissed. But then when she had a miscarriage she wrote a whole blog about how she was happy that it happened so our friend wouldn’t be tied down and really stuck in a “loveless” marriage where she had to play the “fake” and “happy housewife.”

    Which is total crap because our friend is so happy and so in love with her husband. She’s not being fake. She’s just in a totally different place than our other friend. And furthermore, not every relationship/marriage is like her parents marriage, but she seems to think that is the case.

    Anyway, I don’t know why I even consider her my friend anymore, but I feel like some sort of obligation not to fail her as so many other people have. It is really frustrating sometimes. I’ve definitely noticed our relationship has been more strained than usual ever since I had the baby. She keeps leaving me all these snotty little comments on Facebook.

    But then she totally confuses me when she says really nice stuff too like, “I’m so glad we’ve been friends all these years,” or “I’m sitting in an airport on thanksgiving and just wanted to say that I’m thankful for you being in my life.”

    Whenever she comes into town and our group of friends has a little reunion she becomes very standoffish and annoyed if I bring my husband with me, already. So I’m sure if we lived in the same city and still hung out she would expect that I would show up to hang out times sans baby and husband and would be very irritated if I did show up with them.

    But anyway, like I said, I would consider our friendship to be very loose and I am not going to base all my feelings and actions on what she thinks because my priorities would totally be messed up if I did.

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